Developing a direct rating behavior scale for depression in middle school students.

Research has supported the applied use of Direct Behavior Rating Single-Item Scale (DBR-SIS) targets of “academic engagement†and “disruptive behavior†for a range of purposes, including universal screening and progress monitoring. Though useful in evaluating social behavior and externalizing problems, these targets have limited utility in evaluating emotional behavior and internalizing problems. Thus, the primary purpose of this study was to support the initial development and validation of a novel DBR-SIS target of “unhappy,†which was intended to tap into the specific construct of depression. A particular focus of this study was on the novel target’s utility within universal screening. A secondary purpose was to further validate the aforementioned existing DBR-SIS targets. Within this study, 87 teachers rated 1,227 students across two measures (i.e., DBR-SIS and the Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaptation–Checklist [TOCA-C]) and time points (i.e., fall and spring). Correlational analyses supported the test—retest reliability of each DBR-SIS target, as well as its convergent and discriminant validity across concurrent and predictive comparisons. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses further supported (a) the overall diagnostic accuracy of each target (as indicated by the area under the curve [AUC] statistic), as well as (b) the selection of cut scores found to accurately differentiate at-risk and not at-risk students (as indicated by conditional probability statistics). A broader review of findings suggested that across the majority of analyses, the existing DBR-SIS targets outperformed the novel “unhappy†target. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)